Letter to the Brethren: February 22, 2018

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from the Five Cities region of California.

We have continued to work on many matters, including trying to work on literature and finalizing some Feast of Tabernacles’ sites.

Of course, the Spring Holy Days will be here first (with Passover after sunset on March 29th).

Because of that, I started a new sermon series on the Book of Exodus. While I stumbled over a couple of citations (my apologies), going back to this part of the Bible gives us insight into the Passover, Days of Unleavened Bread, the Exodus itself, as well as various lessons we need to understand in the 21st century.

Therefore, it seems appropriate to go over many chapters in Exodus during this time of year (cf. Matthew 24:45-46; 2 Timothy 4:2).

Here is a link to the first part of this new sermon series: Exodus 1-4: Jewish Myths or Lessons for Christians Today?

African Reports

From Malawi, CCOG host Radson Mulozowa sent the following report:

Dear Pastor. Greetings from all the three countries.let me say my
final report about floods. 329 people has been affected. 48 houses
collapsed including our church structure. 18 CCOG brethren are
affected. the villages involved are Likachale and Hamera.

MOZAMBIQUE REPORT : A CCOG host from India congregation (Mr Khagala- the chief)
together with the son are admitted in Malawi after their house fell on
them during the night when they were sleeping. They are in Malawi
since there is a problem of hospital in Mozambique. They are lacking
blood since they lost much blood during the accident. I have talked to
the doctor today and if all goes well they will be given blood
tomorrow. we thank God that no one has lost life.

THANKS : Thanks to all the brethren who prayed for Mrs Makande. She is out from hospital now. may God bless you.

Best Regards

RADSON MULOZOWA

Evangelist Ochieng is expecting to visit Malawi next month.

Deacon Koang Deng sent the following from Ethiopia on Monday:

We are happy for the arriving of Pastor Evans in Gambella last Friday.We have a nice Sabbath in a Church. Pastor Evans baptized 7 members today in Gambella and 22 children were dedicated. Evans shall leave Gambella tomorrow for Addis Ababa then to Kenya. So, the problem we see now, all roads are still blocked, so we used a flight by aeroplane which totally cost a much paid.Thank for your fund. May Almighty God bless you all.

Koang Deng

Evangelist Evans Ochieng sent in the following report:

Pastor Dr Bob,
Greetings from Ethiopia Gambela.
My trip from Kenya to Ethiopia was on 15th FEB 2018. I arrived safe in Ethiopa. The only problem was about tribalism war. The road from Addis Ababa to Gambela was closed by a certain tribe that the buses could not pass. So it forced us to go to Gambela by airplane.

We arrived Gambela safe. The Day I arrived in Gambela I found if so many were there waiting me so many questions concerning our faith and what we are teaching. Most of them were from Seventh Day church of God. The discussion went until very late. The next Day I met those who should be baptized.

On Sabbath I was asked by those who claim to be in a big hall to go and do services with them because they got influenced by our teachings. I rejected their request because I wanted to meet Koang’s congregation which they were claiming to be small because it has only 68 members.

So I met 68 members who are in Continuing Church of God. The meeting was very  good and I was very happy these congregation in Ethiopia. I met very old men people who really serious about the truth.  The people were asking so many questions and I was busy very busy answering questions from sabbath till today Monday.

BAPTISM

We wake very early in morning today to prepare for Baptism. We went to the river at 11 am. The ceremony was standard because the whole congregation  went to the river to rejoice together with the 7 people who were going for baptism. people were singing and the children went to see how the the baptism was going on. I baptized 7 people …

These members most of them are old in age and one of them was blind.  He could not see well but he was very happy he was baptized.
After Baptism, I went to to do the blessing of little children.

22 children were dedicated.  …

After that big work, 4 people came from Seventh day church of God who long before were reading our articles and had so many questions to be answered. We discussed more about some are claiming that the word of God should come from Jerusalem only and why God has some people teaching from the USA and other countries. The discussion was very hot, but fruitful because it bears many fruits. And I hope so many accepted that what we are teaching is the truth. They rebuked so many teachings from them {the Jerusalem group}, because what those are teaching them are not biblical. Koang was very happy because most of the questions were answered properly.

My days in Ethiopia ended today and I will fly back to Kenya tomorrow …

Evans

Evangelist Ochieng reported that he made it back safely to Kenya, but that there were roadblock and other issues in Ethiopia–Deacon Deng also reported issues. We need to go through the doors that God has opened (Revelation 3:7-12), though we often face difficulties (John 16:33).

As far as opened doors go, Luke wrote:

27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles (Acts 14:27).

Thus, the Bible is quite clear that the open door is the door to proclaim the Gospel–and that Gentiles were an important part.

Feast of Tabernacles 2018: Alexandria, Virginia

The Feast of Tabernacles (including the Last Great Day) will be from the evening of September 23rd until sunset October 1st in 2018.

We finally have an agreement for a festival location on the East Coast of the USA.

We have selected the Marriott Courtyard Alexandria Old Town/Southwest, located at 2700 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA  22314-4553, (703) 329-2323.

We would have announced it last week, but the contract that was sent had a massively too high meeting rental rate. It took many hours to get that corrected. But it finally was.

Alexandria is near Washington, D.C.

An optional group activity that we intend to propose is going to the (free) Museum of the Bible, which is the newest museum in Washington, D.C. It is about ten miles away from the Marriott.

Regarding guest rooms (rooms you may stay in), our contract states the following:

Start Date End Date Room Type Room Rate
09/23/2018 09/30/2018 Standard $109.00

Room rate valid 3 day prior and 3 days post the event.

The Hotel’s room rates are subject to applicable state and local taxes (currently 14.5% +1.00) in effect at the time of check out.

The group room rates listed above are net non-commissionable. Continuing Church of God will be responsible to pay any commissions due to any agency for this event.

Please have the guests in your group directly call Marriott Reservations at 1(800) 321-2211 or (703) 329-2323 on or before Thursday, August 30, 2018, (the “Cutoff Date”) to make their sleeping room reservations.  Please advise guests to identify themselves as part of the Continuing Church of God group staying at the Courtyard Alexandria Old Town/Southwest, located at 2700 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA  22314-4553.

All reservations must be guaranteed with a major credit card. The hotel will not hold any reservations unless secured by credit card.

Reservations for all guests must be received on or before Thursday, August 30, 2018, (the “Cutoff Date”).  After the Cutoff Date, the hotel will release any unreserved rooms for general sale and, in the hotel’s discretion, will accept reservations at Continuing Church of God’s group rate, on a space and rate available basis. …

Here is the reservation link your guests can use to make online reservations:

Note: There are rooms with one or two beds in them, though when I went to the above link this morning, it only showed one type–so, I just sent an email to the hotel to ask them to fix that online.

Since attendees have to pay for their own rooms individually, if you are attending in Alexandria, you DO NOT have to stay at this Marriott. There are many other hotels in the general area. However, many people will find that it is much more convenient to do so. And it does make our meeting room negotiations easier when we have more people who stay at the hotel location we hold services at.

We also expect to have another site in the USA (probably Wichita, Kansas), one in Canada (probably Kingston, Ontario), one in Serbia (in or near Belgrade), one in the Philippines (Bacolod), one in New Zealand, and many in Africa in 2018.

Feast of Tabernacles 2018: Bacolod, Philippines

Bacolod is the capital city of the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. A mainly ‘DVD’ Feast of Tabernacles is planned for there. The same location for 2017 has been selected for 2018:

Hi Dr Thiel,

Because the Meeting Room at 11th Street Bed & Breakfast was so ideal and covenient I have just reserved the same Room for Sep 2018 FOT. Its a tentative Booking but they will hold it for us with confirmation and payment to be in April/May 2018.

Kind Regards Anthony Flavell

Here is a photograph of the hotel:

Placeholder

Tripadvisor reports that there are 30 hotels and 226 restaurants in Bacolod. Bacolod has several museums and parks.

For further details, contact Oscar Mediavilla via email hansmeidavilla@rocketmail.com or Anthony Flavell via email anthonyflavell@yahoo.com.ph

If you plan to go there and have internet access and/or computer expertise, your skills could be helpful.

Information on all the sites is expected to be updated at the link: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2018.

Google Campaign

Google reported that our campaign with them reached 1,687,120 computers last month. That is down from the previous month, mainly because of how Google is changing its algorithms. In addition COGwriter.com and the official CCOG websites are also reaching people over the internet (as do our YouTube channels).

A witness to the good news of the gospel of the kingdom of God is going forth as we are working to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20.

Radio

Ended up with a last minute radio interview with Dr. Bill Deagle on Monday February 19th starting at 1:30 pm PST on the Republic Broadcasting Network. We discussed prophetic matters related to current events and the beginning of sorrows.

Dr. Deagle scheduled another interview for Monday, February 26, 2018 at 2:00 pm PDT, where we are also expected to go over events and their prophetic ramifications.

World News Items

Because of its own plans, as well as sometimes blaming Donald Trump, Brexit, and Russia, we are seeing more efforts in Europe to have its own army (see DW: Changing Europe revives interest in an EU military and DW: Is Europe bold enough to counter US ambivalence?). More in the USA are also supporting this (see DefenseNews: How Lindsey Graham came to embrace a European army). The Bible says that Europe will end up with a “great army” (Daniel 11:25). And that after the start of the Great Tribulation it will beat the USA (Daniel 11:39), the UK, etc. (cf. Daniel 8:24-25), and the ‘King of the South’ (Daniel 11:40-43) militarily.

Prior to the Great Tribulation, Jesus spoke of a time of sorrows and troubles. Such troubles and sorrows included wars and pestilences (Mark 13:8). Now, some in the government of the USA have expressed concerned about a possible biological attack from North Korea or other sources (see US military concerned about biological attacks). Biological attacks are consistent with what Jesus prophesied and it is likely we will see some of that prior to the start of the Great Tribulation (cf. Matthew 24:4-21).

Recently, the reconstituted Sanhedrin in Israel issued a commemorative coin with US President Trump’s face on it–the coin also has part of the face of ancient Cyrus (see Sanhedrin Mints Silver Half Shekel With Images of Trump and Cyrus: Is the ‘third temple’ necessary for a successful Trump presidency). Various ones hope that flattering Donald Trump will increase the chances of another temple to be built in Jerusalem. And while another temple is NOT biblically-required before Jesus returns, actions by Donald Trump will (directly and/or indirectly) ultimately lead to animal sacrifices being implemented again in Israel (Ezra 3:6).

The situations with Syria, Israel, Turkey, and Iran have been in the news (see  More devastation in Syria: Are we closer to Isaiah 17:1? and Did the ‘War of Gog and Magog’ Already Begin?). Some have improperly suggested that this Ezekiel 38 has began. But, since that discusses Israel being a place of unwalled villages that peaceably dwell safely as Ezekiel 38:11 describes, that is NOT a reference to this age. That being said, Israel could be attacked by Syria and Iran, which would be consistent with prophecies in Isaiah 22. There are also prophetic warnings about destruction coming to Damascus Syria (Isaiah 17:1) and parts of Iran (Ezekiel 32:24).

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week:

  • 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
  • Opening prayer.
  • Sermonette, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded: A European Army: Peace or No Peace? Other sermonettes are available at the Bible News Prophecy channel.
  • Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
  • Sermon, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Exodus 1-4: Jewish Myths or Lessons for Christians Today?Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

Note: If you have a slow internet connection, you can watch these by starting the video, then below it (and towards the right) look for an outline of a gear–if you click on that, it will allow the YouTube video to be played with lower video quality, but at least it will not stop often–you can select a quality as low as 144p. If your internet connection is still too slow (as my home one is) and/or you prefer audio messages to audio-visuals ones, go to the YouTube link for the message, click on SHOW MORE related to the description. You will then see something that says, “Download MP3.” Below that is a link to an MP3 file. Most computers (and even some cellular telephones) will allow MP3 files to be downloaded and played. This is an option we have made available (but we are also looking into ways to improve that as well)–and, of course, we have written article options. Some people have found that if their internet connections are not fast enough, that they can simply listen to the messages that are found at the new Bible News Prophecy online radio channel. IN CASE YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A ‘LETTER TO THE BRETHREN’ FOR ANY WEEK, REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE MANY SERMON MESSAGES ON THE ContinuingCOG channel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE BibleNewsProphecy channel. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel.

Concluding Comments

The Book of Revelation teaches:

1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:1-8)

Brethren, despite problems that we face, we realize that God is in control and we who will remain faithful will be in the coming Kingdom of God.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer